It has been said innovations in science and medicine aren’t preceded by the exclamation “Eureka!” but by a muttered “That’s funny…” So, it was when orthopedic surgeon Dr. Per-Ingvar Brånemark noted a titanium cylinder placed in bone to study the healing process couldn’t be removed.
This observation led to the development of titanium dental implants and revolutionized dental implantology. It’s not so surprising then that a company with a prior footprint in orthopedics is innovating in guided bone regeneration. Orthocell is an Australian regenerative medicine company taking on the dominant players in the barrier membrane market with CelGro™. It’s a big call, but if the response to CelGro™ so far is anything to go by, Orthocell may be about to surprise everyone.
What makes CelGro different
In regenerative medicine, biological substitutes are used to restore or improve tissue function. The “biological substitute” can either be cell-based (where healthy cells or growth factors are injected into diseased or damaged tissue) or come with an implanted scaffold that acts as a template for new tissue formation using intrinsic repair processes. A combination approach, where cells are implanted after seeding onto a scaffold, is also used. Orthocell manufactures both the CelGro™ collagen scaffold and cell therapies for cartilage and tendon repair.
How it all started
Professor Ming Hao Zheng, Orthocell’s Chief Scientific Officer, originally designed CelGro™ for use as either a biological scaffold or a cell delivery system. Orthocell’s Managing Director Paul Anderson and Professor Zheng founded Orthocell to commercialize CelGro™ and the cell therapies. Previously, Paul and Professor Zheng oversaw the commercialization of one of the world’s first cell therapy products for cartilage repair, MACI.
During the development of CelGro™ it became clear its basic characteristics (biocompatible, bio-inductive, resorbable and cell occlusive,) met the criteria of a barrier membrane used in guided bone regeneration procedures. However, the discovery of titanium’s osteoconductive properties were pure serendipity, while the exceptional bio-inductive properties of CelGro™ are courtesy of 20 years’ worth of expertise in regenerative medicine, and a deep understanding of the interaction between scaffold and cells.
In clinical use, significant improvement in facial bone wall thickness and significant new bone growth around the implant was observed between 2.5 and 19 weeks post-treatment. The quality of regenerated bone formed after using CelGro™ was clinically superior to that reported from two separate published studies using the current market leader in guided bone regeneration. As an added bonus, CelGro™ has excellent handling properties, maintains its shape when placed over the defect and is strong enough to be sutured if required.
A growing company
Having achieved approval for use in Europe, Orthocell is working to supply CelGro™ in the U.S., pending regulatory approval in 2020. Orthocell has a clear commercialization strategy in place to drive adoption of CelGro™ as the first choice in barrier membranes, backed up by a quality product that delivers on its promise—a bio-inductive membrane for bone and soft tissue regeneration. Get ready to be surprised.